Monday, June 06, 2011

A New Way to Interview ... Maybe?

My grandmother is 85 years old and has had three ... I don't even know what they are ... we'll call them strokes.  In any case, they have had a bit of an effect on her brain, so she has a hard time with her short-term memory.  Her long-term memory, however, seems to be okay.  

In the past several months, she has deteriorated such that she has had to move from a retirement center to an assisted-living facility, mainly so she can still live on her own, but for safety will have someone checking in on her periodically throughout the day.  I'm in Tennessee and she's in Florida, so it makes it a little difficult to visit her, which makes it even harder to interview her for short periods of time (I don't want it to be too taxing on her).

I tried to come up with a solution that is two-fold: (1) to get her memories down on paper, and (2) to give her something to keep her occupied for short periods of time ... a job, if you will.

What I have decided to do is send her, a couple of times a month, about 5 photos that need identification or clarification.  I have printed the first batch on glossy photo paper so she can keep them when she's done (she graciously gave me the originals of these photos).  I also printed thumbnails of the photos on a separate sheet of regular paper with space for her to write her thoughts and memories and anything else she felt was important.  I am also sending a stamped return envelope ... you know, one less thing.

I hope that this will be a simple way for her to help with my research.  Has anyone else successfully navigated these types of hurdles?  If so, what did you do?  I am open to any suggestions.


Geniaus said...

What a fantastic idea. I'm going to copy that one.

It would be great to use with my adult kids as well.

Laura said...

Great idea Jenny!

Jenny Lanctot said...

Thanks you guys! I'll let you know how it turns out.

Anonymous said...

Great should develop a template and distribute:-)

Jenny Lanctot said...

LOL ... no need for a template. Copy/paste scanned photos and make them little. Then draw an empty text box next to each one (hint: copy/paste text boxes for uniformity). Took less than 5 minutes.

Cindy said...

What a great idea Jenny. My mom is still sharp - she's only 76. I "interviewed" her and used my iPhone as the recording device. Now I just have to get all of that data transcribed! Good luck and keep us posted on how it goes.

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